A Day Out in The City
Last Friday, the Erdkinder Class visited the USS Pampanito, a World War II submarine on Pier 45 in San Francisco. Our city has a lot of very strong nautical and military history, particularly regarding the war in the Pacific in the 20th century. As we are currently exploring the history of Europe and some of the events surrounding WWI and WWII, it seemed fitting to visit a local landmark so that we could learn about the experience of being part of that era.
We rented audio tours and descended into the submarine. We learned about the torpedo rooms and that the men slept right next to the torpedoes.
Quarters inside the submarine were extremely tight; the men used every available spare piece of space inside to store food – even storing cans and vegetables in the showers at first! The submarine’s engines gave off a lot of heat, and the smell of diesel fuel was everywhere.
The audio tour featured the voices of men who served on the Pampanito and they told stories of their lives aboard, listening to “Tokyo Rose,” the Japanese radio station that broadcasted propaganda to the U.S. troops during the war. We liked visiting the “mess” room where the men ate their meals and – when they did have some downtime – played backgammon and chess on boards painted into the tables. It was amazing to see the tiny kitchen or “galley” and realize that the submarine’s cooks made food for 85 people from this tiny space every day.
After our first walk through the submarine with the audio tour, we then went back through again with a packet with lots of questions about the submarine and the war. We used a combination of what we learned from the audio and what we read on information panels inside each chamber of the submarine to answer the questions.
After we had spent the morning on the submarine, we ate our picnic lunch on Pier 45. Then, we visited the amazing Musee Mechanique http://www.museemecaniquesf.com/index.php This is an amazing museum of "turn of the century" (as in 19th-20th) mechanized fair ground toys and amusements all gathered from what was originally a personal collection. With a pocket full of spare change, you can spend a whole day in here playing the machines. And, best of all, it's free!
The Erdkinder Students